Ugandan police raid newspaper over Museveni succession letter

KAMPALA Mon May 20, 2013 9:44am EDT

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KAMPALA (Reuters) - Police raided a leading Ugandan newspaper and disabled its printing press and website on Monday after it published a letter about a purported plot to stifle allegations President Yoweri Museveni is grooming his son for power, a senior editor said.

Speculation is growing that Museveni, in office since 1986, is lining up his son Kainerugaba Muhoozi to take power, a move that would likely test loyalties in Uganda's ruling elite.

Last week the Daily Monitor - Uganda's most-read independent paper - published a private letter by General David Sejusa calling for an investigation into allegations of a plot "to assassinate people who disagree with this so-called family project of holding onto power in perpetuity".

Uganda's media regulator warned it would "penalize" excessive coverage about the Sejusa letter and a court ordered the Daily Monitor to hand over the document, a decision the newspaper has appealed.

"The police showed up saying they have a warrant to search our premises for the Sejusa letter so they cordoned off our premises and started searching," Don Wanyama, Daily Monitor managing editor, told Reuters.

"Police have switched off our printer, they have also shut down our website and our two FM radio stations and we've also learnt that the power distributor has been instructed to cut off our power supply," he said.

The letter by Sejusa, the head of internal security and long regarded as close to Museveni, has sparked a rare public debate on the issue of whether the 68-year-old Museveni will step down at the end of his term in 2016.

Wanyama said the police arrested and questioned him about the letter for six hours on Tuesday. Two senior reporters were also interrogated.

Police declined to comment but said the authorities would hold a press conference later on Monday to explain the raid, amid reports other news outlets had also been targeted.

(Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Edmund Blair and Raissa Kasolowsky)

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